Improving the efficiency of any operation in the plastics sector, whether manufacturing, distribution, or support services, is much more than a one off exercise. In the current economic climate, with reduced demand from the construction, automotive and aerospace industries, added to increasing threats from overseas suppliers, and customer- led demands for cost control, it is essential to have a mechanism in place which reviews and updates processes and systems, and looks for smarter ways of working.
Cutting out waste: Business efficiency is about doing things right first time, which cuts out waste, not only of materials and direct costs, but valuable employee time as well. ISO 9001 provides a structure for businesses to examine their existing systems, look at how they all fit together, eliminate waste, and ensure everything is documented. The ISO 9001 mantra, “say what you do, do what you say, and prove it” is recognized throughout the world, proving to customers and supply chains that the business is well organized, has documented logical systems, and is focused on satisfying its customers.
Training resource: Once the business’s processes are documented and regularly updated, it becomes much easier to train employees, and ensure that everyone fully understands the impact of their efforts on the whole of the business. With headcount under scrutiny more than ever, having such a valuable training resource means that employers can maximize the investment in their skilled staff.
Traceability: For manufacturers and toolmakers working with expensive materials and high tech machinery, combined with pricing pressures and tight deadlines, it has never been so important to be able to establish and prove what happened and when. Companies can use the process to identify where a problem might occur, before the product goes out of the door. This is a tangible benefit – it saves money, and the supplier does not have products being returned.
Continuous improvement: As a company grows, its systems can become outdated and as a result things start falling apart. When the time comes to add more employees, additional premises, and more customers, costly mistakes can be made. ISO 9001 has a built in trigger, the annual audit, which insures that the business continues to develop its efficiency and systems.
Competitive advantage: Many plastics businesses find that once they have achieved ISO 9001, they are able to tender for more valuable work, enjoy a competitive advantage, and are better equipped to enter new markets, for example export. Even in the domestic market, holding this standard is often a requirement for tender documents, or to be listed with preferred supplier status.
Adding value to the balance sheet: Conforming to recognized international standards which are externally audited, such as ISO9001 can add significant value, and demonstrate confidence and efficiency in the company’s systems and processes. A set of manuals, detailing the process from beginning to end, with action stages, can increase a business’s valuation.
Integration with other standards: With an estimated million ISO 9001 certificates now issued in 170 countries, the ISO 9001 standards have been written to enable the company to relate them to other management systems relevant to the plastics sector, (e.g. ISO14001 environmental, BS OHSAS 18001 (health & safety), and ISO27001 (information security), or to sector specific requirements (ISO/TS 16949 automotive industry).
This content has been kindly provided by Business Support Network Member IMSM